After two difficult years coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, the men’s shed movement has bounced back and is again making a great impact on the lives of thousands.
A sanctuary for men of all ages, providing company, friendship and support, the project offers a welcome social outlet for members.
In a new four-part series made by Macha Media for TG4, with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Men’s Sheds covers a year in the activities in 10 sheds across the country, including Caherciveen and Baile an tSagairt on the edge of the Gaeltacht town of Daingean Uí Chúis.
The series is described as an emotional rollercoaster which follows the personal stories of men with heart-warming accounts of post-Covid reopening, caring for the environment and supporting local communities, as well as poignant personal accounts of issues around mental health, family life, cancer, loneliness and loss.
The production crew met with the members of Cró na bhFear in Daingean Uí Chúis at their premises in the former outbuildings of a farmhouse owned by Fr Jim Mac an tSíthigh and at the Famine Graveyard that sits above the town.
Committee member, Mike Fitzgerald, recently moved to the area from Australia, where the men’s shed movement originated.
“The reason for them was, sadly, that men who were doing it tough, would spend too much time looking down the wrong end of a shotgun, with their finger on the trigger, because of the isolation, depression and the inability of men to be able to communicate and talk about their feelings,” Mike said.
The men’s shed in Caherciveen also features throughout the series, as viewers get a glimpse of some of the many activities that they arrange during the day and in the evenings.
The shed hosts regular card nights and music sessions and have a range of exercise classes and outdoor walks and visits to local attractions, as well as a range of other activities.
Committee member John O’Connor remarked: “It’s great for people to get out of their own houses and come here. Where would they be if the shed wasn’t here?”
The cameras follow the members as they take part in their twice-weekly exercise class organised by Mike Twentyman, as well as a visit to Valentia Observatory, where shed member Tomás Ó Súilleabháin returns to his former place of work.
Men’s Sheds will air over four weeks, starting this Thursday, May 25 at 8.00pm on TG4 and on the TG4 Player.
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Daingean Uí Chúis men’s shed members Fr Jim Mac an tSíthigh, Andy Kupfer, Risteard Mac Liam, Michael O’Connor, Mícheál Ó Conchúir, Mike Fitzgerald, Gearóid Ó Cinnéide and Patrick Sheehy